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Chris Baryomunsi: Funding Gaps is Crippling Provision of ICT Services to Ugandans

Hon. Chris Baryomunsi has expressed concern about how the communication budget for the Ministry has not been considered for a long time, leaving officers and commissioners with no resources for their work. 

Funding gaps in the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance are crippling the ministry’s capacity to provide the required ICT services to Ugandans.

While appearing before the Committee on ICT and National Guidance, chaired by Hon. Eng. Moses Magogo, on March 22nd, 2024, the Minister for ICT, Hon. Chris Baryomunsi, said that ICT and National Guidance was born out of a merger yet the Ministry of Finance has completely ignored the communications and national guidance aspect.

He expressed concern about how the communication budget for the Ministry has not been considered for a long time, leaving officers and commissioners with no resources for their work.

“Where we are going,” said Baryomunsi.

“We need to revitalize the communications function and national guidance bit because we need to inform the country about government functions and yet finance is not giving any money,” he added. “Officers and commissioners have no facilitation yet they are crucial both centrally and at the local government level to provide ICT services.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Aminah Zawedde reiterated the need for more funding and highlighted that under the development of local ICT services, the Ministry required UGX13.5 billion, yet only UGX11.3 billion was provided.

She decried the glaring gap in resource allocation in the Ministry, questioning how only a fraction of the monies required by the Ministry is availed, consequently increasing the challenges of acquiring infrastructure such as computers for schools, digital skilling, taking services online, creating awareness in cybercrimes, creation of employment opportunities among others.

Zawedde also said that the next intervention to upgrade the Parish Development Model (PDM) system where the ministry requires UGX5.5 billion but only UGX4 billion has been released could stagnate the implementation of key PDM projects.

“If we do not automate these systems before project implementation, then we shall miss out on transparency and accountability yet this digitization is key for the success of the model,” she remarked while concluding by appealing to the committee to support the ministry to address the current funding gap that is amounting to a total of UGX38.7 billion.

Supporting their argument among other members, Hon. Noah Musa (Ind., Koboko North) tasked the Ministry of Finance to clarify why it was not availing funds to the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance since no prior explanation had been given.

The Chairperson, Hon. Magogo guided that for the ministry to give Ugandans a comprehensive ICT solution, there was a need for a holistic approach to develop the aspects of hardware, software, and peopleware.

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